Former All My Children stars Eva LaRue (ex-Maria Santos) and John Callahan (ex-Edmund Grey) are no doubt bursting with pride for their daughter, Kaya. Not only has the fifteen-year-old launched a campaign called #StillAGirl to help urge lawmakers to end child marriage in the United States, but she was mentioned on Instagram by former first daughter Chelsea Clinton.
Callahan penned an article about the horrors of childhood marriage for Teen Vogue, and the only child of former president Bill Clinton and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shared her inspiring work.
"15 year old Kaya Callahan Launched a Campaign to Help End Child Marriage in the U.S." Clinton wrote along with a link to the article written by the AMC alums' daughter.
LaRue was understandably thrilled with Clinton's post mentioning her daughter and retweeted it along with the reaction: "OMG!!! So.. THAT Happened!!!"
As part of a series called Wedlocked that explores the history of child marriage in the U.S., Callahan's Teen Vogue article explains why she's writing her governor about the practice and why she launched the #StillAGirl campaign. One reason is because all 50 states have laws with provisions that allow people under eighteen to marry.
"Statistics compiled by PBS' Frontline show that at least 207,468 minors were married in the U.S. between 2000 and 2015 across 44 states," Callahan writes. "The majority of minors who were married were girls; only 13% were boys. According to Frontline's data -- which the program admits does not include every single child marriage in the U.S. -- the youngest children to marry were three ten-year-old girls in Tennessee, who were married to men who were twenty four, twenty five, and thirty one, and the youngest groom was eleven years old and married a twenty-six-year-old woman. Thirteen-year-olds were given the OK to marry in fourteen states, according to the data, including the state I was born in: New Jersey."
She continues: "I was outraged when I found out that this May, New Jersey governor Chris Christie vetoed a bill raising the minimum marriage age to eighteen in N.J. As a fifteen-year-old girl, the thought that others my age and younger could have their choices for the future stripped away was shocking. This is not A Walk to Remember, a movie in which two teens get married because the one has cancer and it's her dying wish. The reality of child marriage in America is much darker: It results in divorce rates of nearly 70% and high-school-dropout rates as high as 50%; dropping out of high school leads to a greater likelihood of future poverty. To right this wrong, I'm starting #StillAGirl, a write-in and social media campaign urging Christie to support legislation that bans marriage for all of those under eighteen. It's a call to all teens and their parents to join me in taking a stand to protect our own and establish positive change. We cannot stay silent."
Kaya is the only child of Callahan and LaRue, who were married from 1996 to 2005. To read all of her Teen Vogue article, click here.
What do you think about Kaya Callahan's campaign to end child marriage? What do you think about Chelsea Clinton giving the teen a shout-out? Did you know childhood marriage is legal in the U.S.? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.